The Time is Now to Plan Your Holiday Window Displays

holiday window displays

holiday window displays

The power of retail visual merchandisers to attract and inspire is perhaps never more vividly on display than at Christmastime in New York City. The holiday windows of the top retailers showcase a seasonal spectacle designed to create engagement that delights shoppers and stimulates commerce.

These amazing visual stories, articulated though creative display, inspire retail planners, merchandisers and visual designers from around the country seeking to deliver a magical and emotional in-store experience for their shoppers.

Of course, not every retailer will create elaborate animated villages or augmented reality glittering winter wonderlands. But no matter the scale of your holiday retail display vision, there is one universal message: We are weeks away from your holiday 2017 store set dates and advance planning is essential.

If you are a fan of the elaborate holiday displays created in some of NYC’s flagship retailers, you know the planning for those annual scenes is months, sometimes years in the making. For smaller and mid-sized retailers, the purchasing process often begins, well, right now.

So when it comes to scoping out your holiday visual merchandising plan and your display fixture needs, you may already be making a list and checking it twice. If so, we’re here to help; and if not, we’re also here to help — offering both inspiration and innovative signware and custom fixtures to present your holiday visual communications stories and/or seasonal product displays.

Retail Holiday Display Inspirations from Christmas 2016

First let’s do some window shopping with a quick look back at a few impressive displays from the 2016 holiday season. This post from Entrepreneur focuses on: “The 7 Most Stunning Holiday Windows in New York City — and What You Can Learn from Them.”

Along with photos and descriptions of some of Manhattan’s most high-profile Christmas displays, the report offers the following seven key takeaways for retailers crafting their own holiday vision:

  • Spark conversation (Barneys)
  • Remain true to your brand (Tiffany)
  • Show what you can offer (Henri Bendel)
  • Create a personalized experience (Lord & Taylor)
  • Stay ahead of trends and incorporate technology (Macy’s)
  • Stick to a theme (Saks Fifth Avenue)
  • Support a cause (Bloomingdale’s)

These dazzling displays — enjoyed by millions of shoppers each winter — showcase the aspirational side of retail display storytelling. Lead window designer Roya Sullivan said Macy’s 2016 holiday presentation focused on “the idea of what Christmas meant to us as children. In thinking back to those feelings, we kept returning to the idea of six key qualities that truly exemplify the spirit and magic of the season” — Believe, Celebrate, Together, Giving, Love and Magic.

The display at Macy’s, where Christmas windows have enchanted generations of spectators since the early 1870s, was nearly a year in the making and required the planning and skills of over 250 display artists, graphic artists, sculptural artists, animators, carpenters, electricians and music and sound experts.

Looking Ahead — Retail Display Planning for Christmas 2017

Of course, for most retailers, holiday displays and merchandising campaigns are conducted on a more modest scale than that of the iconic NYC flagship stores. But retail store designers everywhere — whether you’ve already started your planning for the Christmas season or are just getting under way — understand the need to create a special in-store holiday experience for shoppers.

From Pinterest to YouTube to the four-part Holiday Windows 2016 review by our friends at VMSD, there are countless sources of inspiration. In fact, here’s a blog post we wrote about seasonal planning and innovative ways to attract the attention of holiday shoppers.

Among the nearly infinite possibilities for creativity, Pulse-London (website of “the UK’s ultimate boutique trade event for inspired retailers”) has identified three key trends for Christmas 2017 — scenery and color scheme trends that they believe will “drive product and styling” for the upcoming holiday season.

Bloomsbury Christmas — A luxurious and dark mood. Rich burgundy, deep plum tones and navy combine with black to create a dark and lush palette. Orchid, sage and pearl provide an elegant contrast, while luxurious floral prints are key.

Nomadic Christmas — Christmas goes global, evoking quiet contemplation through nomadic travel and exploration. Eucalyptus green and warm gray form the basis of a calm palette, combined with navy, charcoal and dark denim blue. Rich browns and a pop of dusty pink add an earthy element.

Indulgent Christmas — Channeling fun and excess, an indulgent Christmas emphasizes pile-it-on styling with clashing brights and lots of sparkle. Vibrant turquoise and lilac add a twist to the classic festive combination of crimson and forest green. Orange and magenta provide an unexpected pop, with glitter creating a high-shine finish.

What’s on Your In-Store Holiday Planning Wish List?

The calendar says the holiday retail planning countdown has begun. So where are you in your holiday planning process? Here at Visual Creations, along with our signware division Rose Displays, we have decades of experience working with leading brands to deliver their vision for in-store visual and product displays — for the holidays, and all year round.

As an industry-leading custom retail fixtures and visual communications group, our innovative signware products, tailored displays, design services and best-in-class service make it easy for you to create the perfect in-store experience.

Each holiday season, we are amazed and inspired by the creativity, innovation and magic that retailers reveal in creating unforgettable visual gifts to explore. We’d love to hear more about your 2017 holiday plans and talk about ideas or solutions for bringing your vision to life this season.

Happy holiday planning!

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